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Red Deer District Chamber responds to Federal Budget

The Red Deer and District Chamber has reviewed the federal budget and despite a few bright spots, there are no efforts to boost productivity and innovation in the country which is sorely needed for economic growth.   
Scott Robinson CEO for the Red Deer District Chamber commented, “The budget’s tagline is “Fairness for every generation”; however, it is unlikely that the spending will improve conditions and continuing to increase taxes and spending will simply add to the inflation and GDP stagnation that we are facing, as public debt reaches record highs”  
Highlights include: 

  • Carbon tax rebates are finally being introduced for small businesses (499 or fewer employees), with approximately 600,000 firms eligible for a share of $2.5 billion. Consumers began receiving these rebates over five years ago and now small businesses will finally see the return of some of the tax dollars collected through the carbon price’s fuel charge.    
  • A framework for open banking will allow consumers to easily access financial data across institutions, apps, and services.  Specifics will be forthcoming before the end of 2024, but this could result in business opportunities and choices for consumers. 
  • The targeted 3.87 million net new homes by 2031 is a step toward combatting the housing crisis experienced in Red Deer and across the country.  However, our city has yet to be successful in securing funding support through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CHMC) Housing Accelerator Program, despite being the 56th most populated city in the country and a vacancy rate of 0.8 percent for 2023. We are hopeful to see additional federal investment in our city and have identified recommendations to all levels of government in the Chamber’s Homelessness Task Force Report. 
Areas of particular concern: 
  • Increasing the capital gains tax through reducing exemptions is estimated by the federal government to bring in $20 billion in additional revenue over the next five years. The Red Deer Chamber of Commerce opposes increased taxation, especially when this represents an additional tax on already taxed income. This plan will likely result in decreased investment within the country. 
  • Deficits of $39.8 billion are projected for 2024-2025.  The government also plans to spend $54.1billion on debt servicing, with no plans at all to decrease total public debt. This amount equates to $2 billion more than is allocated to healthcare ($52.1 billion). 
  • $53 billion in new spending has been identified over the next five years.  This continued spending and increasing debt will negatively impact investment and will continue to increase taxes for all. 
“The federal government’s 2024 budget was an opportunity to enhance economic growth and set the country on a new path, toward prosperity and investment indicated Chamber CEO Scott Robinson. “In our view the initiatives suggested by the federal government will not benefit Red Deer and district, or indeed much of the country”.  The Federal Budget presented by the Government yesterday just solidify how important it is for Chambers across Canada to advocate for economic growth, innovation, and productivity policies our country needs”.